Are Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban breaking Australia’s quarantine rules?

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban arrive In Sydney For Christmas

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban are back in Australia because she’s about to film a movie there next month. They arrived more than two weeks ahead of the production start date specifically so they could follow the Australian government’s quarantine regulations. Australia has been held up as one of the success stories in the pandemic because they locked down early and thoroughly, and as of this writing, they have had less than 15,000 cases and less than 200 deaths. There is a spike in infections in Victoria which has caused concerns of a “second wave,” but that’s why Australia is still enforcing strict quarantine and travel rules. One of those rules is about quarantining for two weeks when someone arrives in the country, which is what Nicole and Keith are doing. But the rule is that people have to quarantine in specific government-run hotel rooms where (I would presume) they can be monitored and tested regularly. Nicole and Keith aren’t doing that?

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban have been caught up in controversy in their native Australia after claims the couple were flouting the country’s ultra-strict quarantine protocols in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Australia, it’s mandatory for citizens arriving from another country to quarantine for two weeks in a government-managed hotel room. According to a report in The Times, the pair were hit with backlash when it was discovered they were able to skip the state-mandated hotel and quarantine at their luxurious home, located 75 miles outside Sydney.

New South Wales Premiere Gladys Berejiklian has stated that there will be “no exceptions” from the hotel quarantine; however, Kidman and Urban were granted an exemption, even though the published rules state that exemptions will only be granted “in very limited circumstances on grounds of health or compassion.” New South Wales health authorities, The Times reports, wouldn’t comment on why they couple and their children were allowed to quarantine at their home.

However, Kidman’s publicist, Wendy Day, insisted everything is on the up and up.

“It’s absolute garbage,” Day told The Sydney Morning Herald. “She is paying for all her own security and following all the rules, they are in isolation.”

Kidman, Day added, is using the time in quarantine to prepare for her new role in Hulu miniseries “Nine Perfect Strangers”, with the $100-million production scheduled to being production on Aug. 10.

[From ET]

They’re not actually breaking the rules – while the local officials have said that “there will be no exceptions,” it’s clear that Australian authorities are giving exceptions to many high-profile people and celebrities entering the country. I would assume that Nicole and Keith have been told to just stay in their big mansion and not go out at all and that’s what they’re doing. Which is what they would have been doing at a government-run hotel too, although we don’t know the testing protocols and whether or not Kidman & Urban are following those. Basically, Nicole and Keith aren’t technically breaking the rules but they are getting special treatment from the government because they’re rich and famous.

Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban arrive In Sydney For Christmas

Nicole is also listening to Taylor Swift’s folklore, and Nicole posted this video from behind-the-scenes on the set of Beguiled, a few years ago. Nicole thinks her look on that movie makes her “folklore sisters” with Taylor. Which is super-cute, honestly.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, IG.

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27 Responses to “Are Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban breaking Australia’s quarantine rules?”

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  1. Caitlin says:

    I mean it’s not exactly fair is it, I think everyone would rather be isolating in their own home but the rich and famous get to flaunt the “rules”, I mean it’s not exactly the celebrities fault of course they are gonna try and get round it it’s up to the government to hold them to the same standards that is mere mortal folk are being held too.

  2. Emma33 says:

    I’m Australian, and whilst I don’t think this is really fair, I can also see that, economically, the government needs films like hers to be made to support the local industry. So, rules probably get bent a bit. It’s not as though she could go out and flaunt the quarantine rules either – she’d be papped in a second.

    • Esmom says:

      They’re also saving money by not having to house them. About the government hotel quarantine, I’m once again floored by the things that other countries do that the U.S. just can’t or won’t.

      She looks so cute in that twee outfit. From a distance she could pass for Taylor Swift’s age!

      • Ash says:

        Just to respond to this, as it’s also been mentioned below by a few commenters: While this was paid for by the government before, Australians now have to pay for their own mandatory 14-day hotel stays. The exact cost differs from state to state but, for the state where I’m from, it’s $2,500.

        So the government isn’t saving any money by having them get around this requirement – which, for those of us stuck overseas, not sure when we’ll be able to get back because of how high the cost is for the hotel room plus the very inflated flight prices at the moment, is infuriating.

  3. SamC says:

    From what I read they also flew in via private plane and had been quarantined at their Nashville home before traveling. So while I understand they are getting waivers, seems they are following the rest of the rules and is more a story for a slow news week.

    • Kosmos says:

      I have no problem with them doing this. Aren’t there more important things to do and think about now that the world is in this precarious state? I have every faith in Nicole that she will obey the rules and quarantine with her family. Yes, the rules were bent a bit, but it’s going to be okay, I promise.

  4. megs283 says:

    I imagine having them at a government-run hotel would cause a security nightmare. It’s easier for everyone (though less exciting for non-celebrities) if they stay at their own home.

  5. Kristen says:

    It would likely be more of a hassle for the two of them, their kids, and their security to be at the quarantine hotel than it is for them to be at home. Plus they’d be pretty easy to track, whereas non-celebrities would have a far easier time breaking quarantine from home if they wanted to.

    • lucy2 says:

      This – I’m thinking too if word got out they were at the hotel, other “guests” might be tempted to look for them, and paparazzi might be trying to get there to get a photo.
      If they’re following the quarantine rules (which I assume they are), it sounds fine, and more practical, to me.
      I’m far more concerned about the people disregarding public safety and having parties, no masks, etc.

  6. Izzy says:

    So instead the government should pay for hotel rooms for them, their kids and their entourage? They have a home and are willing to stay in monitored lockdown there, why not save the hassle and expense for everyone?

    • BayTampaBay says:

      @Izzy – I must agree with you. If the government checked out the Urban’s quarantine accommodations (which I am sure they did) and approved it, then the Urban’s are saving the Australian Taxpayers a “$hit load” of money

    • BeanieBean says:

      Yeah, it makes no sense to me. Hawaii has the same 14-day quarantine rule, except if you’re a resident you are to go straight home & quarantine there, while if you’re a visitor you are to quarantine in your hotel (one of your choosing).

  7. Mrs. Peel says:

    So it’s totally fine for Benana to traipse around in Portugal, but not okay for Kidman and Urban to isolate in their mansion in Australia? Okay, got it.

  8. Cecil says:

    Before we pile on, I think it’s important to note that Australia has been having a bit of a scandal regarding the hotels. There have been reports that guards at the hotel have been sleeping with the quarantined guests, getting infected, and further spreading it. There are concerns about this in both Victoria and Melbourne.

    If Nicole and Keith are quarantined at home, it isn’t fair, but it IS completely understandable. I think we would all do the same thing. I don’t blame them for doing everything they can to stay out of a pandemic-style Melrose Place hotel.

    • Nic919 says:

      The hotels should be if you can’t isolate yourself from others properly. If the entire household has to quarantine then it only makes sense for them to go home.

      This is going to be a long term situation until we have a vaccine.

    • Sequinedheart says:

      That’s exactly what I came here to say –
      The quarantine hotels have become hot spots and the breakout rates in there are alarming. There is no way in hell I would be flying home right now (I live in the U.S) if I have to quarantine in a Melbourne hotel.
      I mean, I could just save myself the trouble and go visit Huntington Beach and get it there! No one seems to give a crap about wearing a mask in that city.

    • SKF says:

      FYI: Melbourne is the capital city of the state Victoria.

      Basically what happened is this: we locked down hard and relatively early and had it well under control. Only citizens and some very special exemptions are allowed in at the moment and everyone had to go into isolation for two weeks. At first you could do it at your home; but people were breaking it so it loved to hotels.

      Our two busiest international airports are in Sydney and Melbourne. Travellers coming into Sydney were at hotels with a combination of police and military security. In Melbourne they chose to go with private security companies instead who weren’t properly vetted and we now know that all sorts of things were going on. Staff recruited via WhatsApp, little to no training, etc. Partners of people quarantining were joining security so that they could see each other and hook up. Some security guards were having sex with people quarantining, all sorts of rules were broken. Basically a giant clusterf—k.

      So our new spike is a result of cases from incoming people from overseas who weren’t quarantined properly. They test everyone coming in and about 1/3 are positive – which suggests that most countries are drastically under-testing. Victoria stuffed up the quarantine and then NSW didn’t lock down the border with VIC fast enough so now there are additional cases in NSW which have then spread to QLD. Not US style numbers; but it is frustrating. VIC now has the highest numbers we’ve had in the entire pandemic and have gone into hard lockdown again. There is a parliamentary inquiry happening into the security stuff-up.

      We’ve also reduced the number of incoming international flights, security on hotels is being reassessed. Masks in Melbourne have been made mandatory with a new $200 on-the-spot fine for not wearing them (due to people being a-holes about it).

      Recently the government stopped paying for hotel quarantine and passengers have to pay themselves. I think they figured people had a large enough window to get themselves home by now and also some people were refusing exit COVID tests – possibly so they could stay for free in luxury hotels for longer. It’s not cheap.

      Regarding Kidman and Urban, it seems unfair but they are bringing a much-needed influx of cash and jobs into an area that’s been hit by bushfires and the pandemic this year. They are prepping the series (I believe it is a series not a movie) at their mansion in the countryside while they lockdown. I think they made a deal with the government and as long as they lock down properly I don’t really give AF.

  9. Nic919 says:

    In Canada the 14 day quarantine can be done at your home so while I can see how it is different from the Australian rules, it is probably more cost effective if people did the quarantine at their own home. Of course there is the enforcement issue at this point but the Canadian government is contacting people more than once to check on them. They should have been doing that in March but that’s another story.

  10. Valiantly Varnished says:

    Meh. As long as they are isolating that’s all that matters. And they are rich enough to do so at their property and not on taxpayer dime at the mandated hotel. I dont see an issue with this.

  11. Marigold says:

    Im excited about this series. I read the book and it’s fun.

  12. katharine says:

    That picture of them at the airport. Their respective clothing choices. I can’t.

  13. S2 says:

    It’s not fair, but wealth rarely is. I believe there is an economic stimulus proviso, which making a movie falls under, where the business assumes the quarantine costs, including paying for their own government monitors, testing, etc., instead of having the state assume those burdens. Arrivals by private aircraft, which they also could have fallen under, also have different rules in many places. Also, if the government approved this plan, which one presumes they must have or Nicole and Keith would be being publicly arrested or at bare minimum called out by officials, they’re not “breaking the rules.”

    Like most things in life, money makes a huge difference in comfort.

  14. V says:

    It’s not just australia making exceptions. It was all over the news that singer phoebe bridgers BROKE QUARANTINE, flying (by private jet) from LA (Covid Hotspot) to Ireland so she could “meet” Paul mescal (Connell in Normal People–recent emmy nominee) in Ireland. Those two have been online flirting for a while, and she was just performing on in the States, and then boom, like a few days later, she was spotted dining in Kinsale (the cafe they went to outed them on twitter–anything for free publicity). Please Kaiser, make a point of continuing to call out all celebrities for being Covid Assholes. Because people are really giving her a pass online (white privilege? anything to ship their fave celebs?) and the reality is that all over Europe and the North America, it is young people spreading (and catching) this disease.

  15. Amy in Oz says:

    Those in the entertainment industry are apart of the exception list and they are able to self isolate at home not in a hotel, so they’re not breaking any rules. Last week Kylie Minogue’s sister Danni was under fire for the same thing.

    Here’s a quote from the QLD chief medical officer about the exceptions…

    “For instance, consular officials, ADF personnel, people who work in the oil and gas industry … people who work in specific film and entertainment industries.”

  16. Pzc says:

    Aussie govt is allowing people to quarantine at home if they have an isolation plan and can stump up for their own security. Obviously only rich people can do this.